2019 David Bradshaw Creative Writing Residency, Oxford

The 2019 David Bradshaw Creative Writing Residency was the result of a collaboration between the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project and our partner organisations, Worcester College, Oxford and the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Supporting the creation of new work, the Complete Works project funded one full - time residency and one part - time residency. Both residencies were based in one or both of our partner organisations in Oxford, from April 18th, right through to June 4th, 2019.

Meet our wonderful resident writers:

Dr Robert M. Francis

R. M. Francis Headshot

Robert undertook a full - time residency and divided his time between writing studios at Worcester College, Oxford and the Weston Library, Oxford. Robert also delivered a series of Evelyn Waugh - inspired, creative writing workshops, to members of Crisis Skylight Oxford.


Robert hosted a number of events and activities throughout his residency.


Robert is a writer from Dudley. He recently completed his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton, where he lecturers on the Creative and Professional Writing degree. He's author of four poetry chapbooks: Transitions (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2015); Orpheus (Lapwing Publications, 2016) Corvus' Burnt-Wing Love Balm and Cure-All (Black Light Engine Room, 2018) and Lamella (Original Plus Press, 2019). 2020 will be an even busier year for Robert as Smokestack Press publish his first full collection and his debut novel will be released with Wild Pressed Books.

Follow Robert on twitter @RMFrancis

Read more about Robert and his work, through his website


Sophie Swithinbank

Sophie Swithinbank

Sophie is undertook a part - time residency and was based in a writing studio at the Weston Library, Oxford. Sophie also delivered a series of Evelyn Waugh - inspired, creative writing workshops, to local secondary school students.

Sophie hosted a number of events and activities throughout her residency.

Sophie Swithinbank is a professional London based playwright, and is the 2018 recipient of the Tony Craze Award at Soho Theatre, with whom she is currently developing her play, Bacon. Sophie is also under commission with Bexhill College, writing a play for young people, Where There Is Smoke, which covers themes of sexuality, relationships and transformation. Where There Is Smoke, has had a rehearsed reading at the National Theatre, and will soon tour to schools and three further theatre venues. Sophie writes for Get Lucky Theatre, a company that she co-founded in 2016. See www.getluckytheatre.com for more info. Sophie has also written an audio drama for Theatre 503 that will be launched in May 2019. Previous works include Come Inside (Bush Theatre, 2017) and The Superhero (Lyric Hammersmith, 2017).

Residency brief:

Evelyn Waugh’s most famous novel, Brideshead Revisited (1945) continues to inform a romantic image of the city of Oxford in the minds of those who visit, in search of ‘a city of aquatint’.1 Written over twenty years after Waugh left the city, Brideshead remains ‘a hymn to a world he thought was disappearing, both socially and materially.’2

Amy Dodd Hertford Bridge
Amy Dodd, Hertford College, Oxford, 2018

Although Waugh only completed two-and-a-half years of a three-year degree, his time at Oxford University was more than sufficient to absorb the hedonism of student life in the roaring twenties, an experience that would continue to inform his writing throughout his career.

Waugh’s image of Oxford immediately after his departure, however, was less positive. He wrote about the city in ‘great, unflattering detail’,3 reminding us that he did not always remember it with the fondness apparent in Brideshead, and that the novel’s idealised version of Oxford, is just that: a version.

Oxford is a city with many faces where traditional values and ceremony are interwoven with the new – new people, new values, new experiences and ever-evolving socio-economic challenges, including widespread homelessness. Waugh’s tumultuous relationship with Oxford reminds us that one’s relationship with a city is framed through a prism of individual values, circumstances and experiences.

The David Bradshaw Creative Writing Residency will give a writer the opportunity to be based in the city that inspired Waugh, and to create a piece of writing evoked by or in response to that city, as experienced in 2019. The resident writer will develop relationships with the local Oxford community through the delivery of a series of creative writing workshops which will allow the writer to share and develop insights into a variety of experiences of the city.


1. Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (London: Penguin Classics, 2011), p. 25
2. Barbara Cooke, Evelyn Waugh’s Oxford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), p.50
3. Ibid., p.48

Duties and responsibilities

The successful resident writer will be expected to:

  • Submit a finalised plan and schedule of work to achieve the aims and objectives of the accepted proposal, at the beginning of the residency
  • Produce a new piece of creative writing, which may take the form of short fiction, poetry or a short play, in response to the residency brief
  • Work closely with the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project to devise and deliver three, two-hour creative writing sessions to members of Crisis Skylight Oxford, using Waugh’s writing as inspiration
  • Work closely with the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project to devise and deliver two creative writing workshops in local secondary schools, using Waugh’s writing as inspiration
  • Take part in training sessions in preparation for working with young people and vulnerable adults
  • Deliver a public reading of writing produced during the residency
  • Publish work created during the residency, on the Complete Works website
  • Support any publicity and PR activities relating to the residency (to be agreed in advance)
  • Write a blog post highlighting expectations at the beginning of the residency, and a second blog post, reflecting on the whole experience, at the end of the residency
  • Maintain engaging residency-specific Instagram, Facebook and Twitter profiles, delivering a minimum of one post per day that can be duplicated on all three sites
  • Provide a short evaluation report at the end of the residency
  • Be on site (either at Worcester College or the Weston Library) during weekdays for the duration of the residency unless engaging in residency-specific activity off-site


The successful resident writer will receive:

  • A total fee of £2,614.50 plus up to £50 related travel and material expenses allowance, per week
  • Access to a private writing studio in Worcester College, Oxford, three days per week, during opening hours, for the duration of residency. This writing studio will also be used, two days per week, by the College’s Royal Literary Fund Fellow, poet and critic Stephen Romer (read more about Stephen Romer below)
  • Access to a private writing desk within the Visiting Scholars’ Centre, during opening hours, at the Weston Library, as part of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, two days per week for duration of residency
  • An opportunity to publish writing created during the residency on the Complete Works website
  • An opportunity to set and print writing created during the residency, using the Bodleian’s impressive Bibliographical Press
  • An opportunity to submit work to Oxford University-affiliated publications
  • An opportunity to read work created during the residency, in a public forum
  • A weekly networking opportunity through inclusion in a programme of weekly scholars’ coffee mornings at The Weston Library
  • A Bodleian Library Reader’s Card and access to collections for the duration of the residency
  • A private induction to Waugh manuscripts and letters currently housed in the Bodleian archive and any other related material
  • An opportunity to build relationships with local community groups in Oxford
  • An opportunity to build a professional profile within the academic institutions of Oxford and the Complete Works-related arena



Please note: The resident writer will be responsible for arranging their own accommodation during the residency. During interview, shortlisted candidates will be required to demonstrate accommodation arrangements available to them, should they be successful.

Opening hours and accessibility:

Worcester College:

  • The writing studio will be available three days per week
  • The college lodge is manned 24 hours a day so technically is always open, but the front door is normally unlocked from 7.00am – 6.00pm.
  • The College is open as normal for Bank Holidays in term.
  • Please note that there will be no support staff present over the Easter long – weekend.
  • Unfortunately, the room allocated to the Writer in Residence will not have flat access, thus unsuitable for wheelchair users. However, Worcester College has a number of seminar rooms available, which are wheelchair accessible, and can be reserved if needed.

Weston Library:

  • The desk will be available two days per week, within the Visiting Scholars’ Centre which is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 7 pm, and Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. This area of the building is closed on Sundays. This schedule applies throughout term time and vacations, but please note:
  1. All reading rooms are closed from Fri 19-Mon 22 April inclusive [Easter weekend].
  2. All reading rooms will be open during the May bank holidays, as these are during term time.
  • With over 40 libraries and reading rooms in some of Oxford's most historic buildings, physical access to the Bodleian Libraries' collections may be problematic for wheelchair users and those with mobility difficulties. For this reason, the Bodleian will always make alternative arrangements should you not be able to access collections. The Weston Library can deliver material to more accessible reading rooms and fetch material for you.
  • Assistance animals, such as guide dogs and hearing dogs, are always allowed into the Bodleian Libraries.
  • The Visiting Scholars’ Centre is accessible to wheelchair users and the visually impaired.


More about the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project:

The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh is an international, five-year, AHRC-funded project which will culminate in the publication, by Oxford University Press, of all of Waugh's writings and graphic art in 43 volumes. The editors of these volumes will place Waugh’s works within their rich literary and historical context, enabling a greater understanding of the range and complexity of Waugh's thinking and artistic practice, linking this to the work of his contemporaries in Britain, America and Europe. No other edition of a British novelist has been undertaken on this scale. The project team has been given permission by the Evelyn Waugh Estate to quote freely from the writer's published and unpublished materials, a privilege never before available to Waugh scholars.

The Complete Works project was initiated by Alexander Waugh, Waugh's grandson, who curates the Evelyn Waugh Archive from his home in Somerset. He is the edition's General Editor, with Professor Martin Stannard (University of Leicester) and Dr Barbara Cooke (Loughborough University) serving as Co-Executive Editors.

Find out more about the Complete Works


More about Worcester College, Oxford:

A college within the University of Oxford, Worcester is characterised by diversity, with a vibrant academic community of fellows and lecturers, a lively and varied student body, and a group of dedicated staff, all of whom come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. Situated in the heart of Oxford, with its many attractions and amenities, the walls of Worcester College enclose 26 acres of beautiful, tranquil gardens. With buildings ranging from medieval cottages to their newest architectural project, the Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester boasts a library, chapel and dining hall created by some of Britain’s finest 18th and 19th Century architects.

Worcester College is currently hosting the poet and critic, Stephen Romer as the College’s Royal Literary Fund Fellow. The author of several poetry collections, Romer’s fourth collection, Yellow Studio (2008), was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and his fifth, Set Thy Love in Order, was published in 2017. As well as poetry, Stephen has pursued a career as a translator from the French, editing two anthologies, including Faber’s 20th-Century French Poems (2002). More recently he has published French Decadent Tales (OUP, 2013) and a translation of Yves Bonnefoy’s The Arrière-pays (Seagull, 2012). Stephen’s RLF Fellowship runs from October 2017 until June 2019.

Find out more about Worcester College, Oxford


More about the Royal Literary Fund:

The Royal Literary Fund Fellowship scheme was conceived with the intention of placing professional writers in higher education institutions to offer writing support to all students. The principal aim of the Fellow’s work is to foster good writing practice across disciplines and media. Each post is hosted by a particular department, which may be an academic department/faculty (either in Arts or Sciences) or a central department such as learning development.

Find out more about the Royal Literary Fund


More about Weston Library, of the Bodleian Libraries:

The Weston Library is part of the Bodleian Library, the main research library of the University of Oxford. The mission of the Bodleian Libraries is to provide an excellent service to support the learning, teaching and research objectives of the University of Oxford; and to develop and maintain access to Oxford's unique collections, for the benefit of scholarship and society. The combined collections of the Libraries group number more than 11 million printed items, in addition to 80,000 e-journals and vast quantities of materials in many other formats.

Find out more about The Bodleian


More about Crisis Skylight Oxford:

Crisis Skylight Oxford is a charity working to help end homelessness in Oxford. Housed in the same building as The Old Fire Station arts centre, Crisis Skylight is an arts, education, training and employment service for homeless and vulnerably housed adults aged over 16. Arts courses and workshops are available in arts and crafts, drama, dance, music and creative writing, while skills courses include painting, bike maintenance and carpentry. Crisis members can also undertake qualifications in literacy, numeracy, IT and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and specialist staff offer one-to-one support including careers advice and preparing for, finding and keeping work.

Find out more about Crisis Skylight Oxford and their work at the Old Fire Station


Skills and experience


  • A demonstrable passion for literature and creative writing
  • A history of publication in reputable hardcopy and/ or online magazines, journals, or anthologies; or longer works by well-regarded presses
  • Experience of devising and delivering creative writing workshops to a wide range of communities including vulnerable adults and school groups
  • Ability to plan and deliver workshops that differentiate for a range of learning abilities and needs
  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively with people with a range of diverse experiences and backgrounds
  • Ability to inspire others, build relationships, and open your working practice
  • The ability to be flexible and responsive to situations
  • A desire and ability to communicate well about the residency and your writing
  • The ability to organise and manage your time and workload
  • The ability to pitch ideas and market yourself and your work
  • Confident using social/digital media
  • A good understanding of handling sensitive information and safeguarding
  • Reliable and able to work on your own initiative
  • Ability to work within the date period. There is some flexibility around dates but you must have the capacity to meet the time requirements of the residency


  • Existing familiarity with the life and work of Evelyn Waugh
  • Knowledge of UK secondary school English curriculum



Worcester College, Oxford
Weston Library, Oxford
Crisis Skylight, Oxford


How to apply:

Please send the following supporting material to Grace Boland at g.boland@leicester.ac.uk by Friday 15 March, 5.00 pm:

1.  A writers CV outlining your training, publication track record, reviews and any relevant awards
2.  Contact details of two professional referees
3.  A covering letter of no more than one side of A4 which:

  • outlines why this experience would benefit your own writing practice
  • outlines your experience in devising and delivering creative writing workshops in various community settings
  • outlines how you meet the other criteria set out under ‘skills and experience’

4.  A short sample of your writing (2,000 words of prose, 200 lines of poetry, or 10 pages of a play script).
5.  A short proposal (no more than one side of A4) that sets out how you would go about responding to the residency brief  (outlined above), to produce a piece of new writing during the residency. Please include a brief timeline identifying how you would achieve the aims and objectives of the residency and your proposal, within the residency timeframe.


Interview dates: Friday 22nd March (Leicester) and Monday 25th March (Oxford)

Please note: Skype interviews can also be undertaken depending on circumstances

Start date: Thursday 18th April

End date: Tuesday 4th June

Duration: The fee will cover 30 weekdays to begin Thursday 18th April and end Tuesday June 4th, 2019. This timeframe allows for four unpaid bank holidays that occur during April and May.

Hours and days: 30 days, Monday – Friday, 35 hours per week

Rate of pay: Total fee of £2,614.50 + up to £50 related travel and material expenses allowance, per week

If you have any questions, or would like a more detailed timeline for workshop delivery dates or potential workshop content etc., please contact Grace Boland at g.boland@leicester.ac.uk

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Amy Dodd EWO Canal Large
Amy Dodd, Canal, Oxford, 2018
Amy Dodd EWO Chequers Pub
Amy Dodd, Chequers Pub, Oxford, 2018

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